The blessing and wisdom of being connected


 It has been said that a fool learns from his own mistakes while a wise man learns from the mistakes of others. Fool or not, it seems like the crucial point is that, ultimately, learning has taken place somewhere or somehow.
    Of course there is another option: learning from the successes of others.
    One of the many advantages of our connectional system, and being surrounded by gifted and devoted clergy and lay persons, is having access to people who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in various aspects of ministry.
     Three years ago I had the opportunity to attend the week-long Licensing School (also known as License to Preach), held annually at Simpsonwood. It was practical and logical and informative with numerous nuggets of wisdom shared by the experienced presenters, both clergy and lay persons.
      In short, it was invaluable.
      I came away from the training feeling like I had learned more in one week than I would have in many years of fumbling and stumbling around on my own. Why try to re-create the wheel when someone has already perfected it?
      In certain cases, people might refer to copying someone else’s idea as plagiarism, piracy or intellectual theft. In the United Methodist Church, it is simply being part of the connectional system that is designed to benefit all of us.
    We should all be grateful for the willingness of so many dedicated servants to share their experiences in ministry, the victories as well as the struggles, for others to benefit and learn. It is not that every successful ministerial effort can be reproduced in every local church, but there are almost always helpful hints to glean from sharing our efforts.
       One of the most important functions of the North Georgia Advocate is to share the stories of our local churches and to help inform and celebrate new ministry or missionary efforts.    
       To recognize and celebrate some of those endeavors, we are introducing a new feature to the North Georgia Advocate, “New Horizons: How local congregations in North Georgia are reaching out to serve all God's people”.
       This feature is intended to encourage and inspire as well as inform how churches across the North Georgia Conference are finding ways to come together in ministry to serve all of God’s people.
 Glenn Hannigan is editor of the North Georgia Advocate. Email him at or send a note to: The North Georgia Advocate - NGUMC, 4511 Jones Bridge Circle, Norcross, GA 30092